Sep 7, 2008

Mount Si

I've posted about Mount Si before, but today I was actually able to enjoy some views, and I paid more attention to the details of the hike to be able to share them here.

I got to the trailhead early this morning, with a relatively thick fog covering Snoqualmie Valley. At 7:30am I was the fourth car in the parking lot, and I set out to conquer Mount Si in two hours. Starting elevation point for this four mile trail is 700 feet.

Mount Si is one of the busiest trails in the area, perhaps as busy as Tiger Mountain. But while Tiger Mountain offers a variety of trails (including a two mile loop that has no elevation gain), Mount Si has one trail taking it to the peak of the mountain that splits the North and Middle Forks of the Snoqualmie River.

The tail is well-traveled, wide, rocky, and well-maintained. It is pretty much the same steady steepness all the way up (each mile is about 800 feet in elevation) gain, although the first two miles are slightly steeper than the last two miles. There are a couple stops for semi-viewpoints along the way, but the views are best reserved for the top.

Once at the top (3900 feet up, for an elevation gain of 3200 feet) you have a few choices. Most people seem to opt for the first lookout, right at the base of the trail when you arrive at the summit. The trail continues on. About 100 feet past the initial summit you will see a decent sized rock on your left. A short rock scramble is well worth it here, and you will be treated with excellent views of the South Fork mountains (Mailbox Peak, Mount Washington, etc), Mount Rainier, Rattlesnake and Tiger mountains, the Olympics, and the Snoqualmie Valley.

Follow the trail a couple hundred more feet, and you will see a sign pointing to the Snoqualmie Valley viewpoint. This is the best view of the valley. Beyond that you have two more choices - the haystack, or follow the trail to the backside of Mount Si for views of Mount Baker to the north and Mount Teneriffe and Green Mountain to the east. You can even follow this trail to Mount Teneriffe, which I chose not to do today.

I also wussed out on the haystack. The views at the top were amazing, you got to see from Rainier to Baker to the Olympics. All the while Seattle and Snoqualmie Valley were covered with a thick layer of clouds below. Very cool seeing Rattlesnake Mountain and Tiger Mountain peek above the cloud cover.

Back to the haystack, I started up it and got about 40% up before I decided it was a little steep for my liking. I still had my backpack on me, and I just didn't trust myself not snagging on something or having the extra weight knock me off balance. By the time I climbed back down I decided against giving it another try. Perhaps another day.

This is a very busy trailhead, I was passing people and dogs (unleashed no less) constantly. The only negative in my book, as I like to hike for the solitude.

Oh yeah, I made it up in two hours and 5 minutes. Gives me something to shoot for next time.

The view to the east and south.

Rattlesnake Mountain in the foreground, Tiger Mountain behind it.

A shot of Rainier, with the first summit of Mount Si there at the bottom of the picture.

Snoqualmie Valley and Seattle, not visible through the clouds. The Olympics are in the distance on this clear day.


Rhonda said...

I climbed Mt Si several years ago to train for Mt St Helens. It's pretty challenging (at least it was for me) and beautiful! Thanks for the memories.

James V Reagan said...

The two hour goal is actually me starting some early training for Mount Rainier next year. Getting close to the two hour goal, now I need to strap 40 pounds on my back and make it in two hours. :)

John Knight said...

Great shots! Hopefully heading out your way in a few weeks. Probably won't have the time to take the hike, but now I've got something to plan for!

Sanity said...

Very unique photos. After doing the hike once I pretty much swore off doing it again since (1) the only views are once you get to the top and (2) it is a pretty brutal upward hike for me :-) But your pics make me want to reconsider... However, I'm hoping I can sneak in a hike to Granite Mountain before the season ends. -Chris